Sunday, March 1, 2015

Amazing February Conditions Again at Saddleback

The view at Saddleback never gets old!
We finished off one of the better February's in memory with a great ski day at Saddleback Maine.
Temps were in the lower teens, very light winds with bright sunshine and zero clouds. A spectacular winter Maine ski day.

Overall the conditions were excellent. The groomers are skiing absolutely beautifully. Ghost, Coachman, the Devils, Silver Doctor all were awesome and the upper mountain Tight Line and Supervisor were super as well. Perfect corduroy in the morning with a deep base so conditions held up all day. We thought the gladed trails, notably Intimidator and Thrombosis were spot-on. Even though they had been skied plenty they held soft snow that held an edge well when you needed it. The upper section of Peachy's Peril held perfect Old Man bumps. Us powder hounds are looking forward to some more snow in the Western Maine mountains, but overall we certainly can't complain about our ski day!

Isaac launching it on Tri-Color
A telemark group from Bowdoin College outing club was there wearing all kinds of crazy outfits. Loads of fun. Nice crowd on the mountain but lift lines were manageable to ski right on. Doesn't get any better than that.

Today (March 1st)  is $39 Maine day at Saddleback. Temps should get into the 20's - it should be an awesome day! Here is our video edit from our day.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Spectacular February Ski Day at Saddleback

We wrapped up school vacation week with a spectacular ski day at Saddleback Maine February 22, 2015.

This trip report is pretty simple.
The new Wolly Bugger Glade skied great

1. Great snow conditions with 2" of powder overnight.
2. Comfortable Temps in the 20's with light wind!
3. Comfortable Temps in the 20's with light wind! (that is worth saying twice!)

Everything skied awesome. Pick a groomer, bump run or glade and you would be happy today. There
was a great vibe on the mountain. You could actually show a little skin, put away the neoprene mask and have a great time skiing in Maine.

Deep freeze is back on for a bit this week but boy is the spring skiing in Maine going to ROCK this year!

Here is our video on the day. Trail Lineup.

0:07 - Professor
0:27 - Lower Jane Craig
0:33 - Tri Color (Old Man Cam)
0:38 - Governor (Old Man Cam)
1:01 - Nightmare Glade
1:30 - Black Beauty
1:40 - Casablanca
1:50 - Professor Cliff
1:58 - Wolly Bugger Glade
2:02 - Governor (Old Man Huck Cam)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sampling the Glades at Black Mountain of Maine - February 2015

The @MaineSkiFamily boys and mom took a school vacation day to sample the fine glade work of the Angry Beavers of Black Mountain Maine. I have to say these folks are turning Black Mountain in Rumford into a true Maine ski destination. They have great beginner and intermediate cruisers, and with the new gladed terrain they are turning this mountain into a playground for skiers of all abilities.

All summer / fall the Angry Beavers have maintained and created new glades for Black. The trees offer great spacing and natural / man made features to bounce around. If you are new to glades, this is a great spot to get a taste... but there are great challenging runs as well so everyone will be happy.

Black is real ski mountain. They offer a 1,380 foot vertical drop, a newer triple lift servicing the summit and a great base lodge... not to mention a world-class Nordic facility. The conditions don't get any better than this. At day ticket rates of $15/$25 how can you go wrong? Go ski Black Mountain of Maine and support this great community ski mountain!

The boys video of the day as featured on the Black Mountain of Maine Facebook Page:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review of 2015 Maine High School Class B&C Ski Championships at Big Rock

Old Man finding some soft snow at Big Rock
The @MaineSkiFamily crew headed up to the Mars Hill / Presque Isle area February 14-17 to Big Rock Ski Area and the Nordic Heritage Center to
support Isaac and his Freeport High School Falcon teammates in the Maine Class B Ski Championships.

The team arrived on Saturday to try to beat a projected blizzard. While the snow never really
materialized (4"-5" max), the wind certainly did! On Sunday, the alpine team got a couple of hours of training in. While the wind was blowing pretty hard, we were able to get some nice soft turns on the hill. Big Rock is a great community hill similar in size to Shawnee Peak, Black Mountain and Mt. Abram. Big Rock has some decent pitches and trees and some great groomer runs for all abilities. A narrow steep trail called Chair Line was one of our favorites. Alec got a new pole mount for his GoPro and got some good video of a couple of our runs.

Monday was supposed to be the slalom race but the wind and cold was just too fierce and the race was postponed to Tuesday So the teams had to do single runs (instead of the normal two runs) of Giant Slalom and Slalom on Tuesday to compete for the Class B&C championships. Unfortunate... but probably the best that could be done schedule-wise considering the weather circumstances and with so many skiers in two classes they didn't have another choice. I have to say having two classes at one facility is probably a bit much particularly on the alpine side. Unfortunately two combined runner up trophies were awarded to the wrong team due to scoring errors including our Freeport alpine and nordic girls. Hopefully the Maine Principals Association can take a closer look at this arrangement in the future.

Overall, the Falcons fell just a bit short of winning a state class B team title coming in second in Boys Alpine, Nordic & Combined, and Girls Nordic. A great effort by all the kids and we were able to garner 14 top-10 individual finishes which is outstanding. Also - the Freeport Boys Alpine team was awarded the 2015 Class B Sportsmanship banner. Well done by all! Complete results can be found on the Maine High School Skiing website and congratulations to all the individual and team winners in all classes.

Our son Isaac had a very good meet scoring for his team in both the Slalom and Giant Slalom disciplines. While he normally is bouncing through moguls or jumping off cliffs at Saddleback, his quick feet make him a good ski racer too. Out of 49 skiers he attained a 23rd place in Giant Slalom and 16th in Slalom. Nice job Isaac!

Our oldest son Alec took a great photo gallery of the alpine and nordic races and has them up on his website for sale. If you had a skier in the Class B or C ski championship races check it out!

Still lots of ski season left. Get out there and visit a mountain in Maine!

Here are two pictures that Alec took of Isaac racing.

Isaac racing to a 16th place finish in Slalom at the Maine Class B High School Alpine Ski Championships

Isaac running the Giant Slalom Course at the Maine Class B High School Alpine Ski Championships

Sunday, February 8, 2015

It Keeps Getting Better at Saddleback - February 7, 2015

Ever since MLK weekend, the skiing keeps getting better, and better at Saddleback and February 7, 2015 was even better! As with all the ski areas in Northern New England, the snow keeps a-coming and the temps keep the snow light and fresh.

Isaac on the Professor Cliff Huck
The groomed trails were outstanding. Tight Line was the best I had ever skied it. The bumps and woods were deep and fresh. We have to say Governor, Upper Professor, Lower Jane Craig, Family Secret, Peachy's, Nightmare Glade, Muleskinner and others had deep stashes of snow and skied great. See my guide to all the trials at Saddleback.

The light snow is having a bit of trouble sticking to the natural head walls on Wardens, Black Beauty and Frostbite but there were accessible from the cross-cut off Tight Line. However, the Governor head wall held snow and the trail skied exceptionally well. On some of the natural trails there was some ice/scratch on the wind-blown sections but they were few and far between.

Temps were between 5-10 degrees but the wind was relatively light... making for a pleasant ski day. Good crowd on the mountain but the lift lines were short. One of the top ski days of the year and we
Great View and Deep Drifts on Muleskinner
have had some good ones so far! 

Josh Christie put together a great article on Saddleback and the Rangeley region in the January 7th Portland Press Herald. Saddleback is setting up perfectly for February vacation week. Make your plans, get up there an enjoy it!

Video of the day. While we like to play in the woods and bumps the skiing was outstanding all over the mountain from the beginner green trails, blue cruisers to the expert bumps and glades. Everyone will have fun at Saddleback.

Highlighted Trail Lineup:

0:00 - Tight Line
0:22 - Parmacheenee Bell
0:33 - Upper Professor
0:38 - Wolly Bugger Glade
0:55 - Warden's Worry
1:00 - Unnamed Secret Glade
1:04 - Peachys Peril
1:21 - Royal Coachman
1:36 - Governor
1:56 - Intimidator Glade
2:08 - Muleskinner

Monday, February 2, 2015

Super Sunday Skiing at Saddleback - Feburary 1, 2015

It was an interesting weekend for the @MaineSkiFamily crew. After getting shut-out at Black Mountain of Maine on Saturday due to extremely high winds (and below zero temps) we called an audible and hit up Saddleback on Sunday. Social media hinted at stellar conditions at Saddleback, and the wind managed to calm down to give us an enjoyable but cold ski day. And then we watched with the rest of New England and celebrated a Patriots Super Bowl win!

Overall conditions were stellar. Super light snow that kept drifting in with the wind to create constant refills. We
Alec in Lower Nightmare Glade
basically hung out on the upper mountain Quad lapping glades and some of our favorite natural trails. We found Wardens Worry to be the pick of the day. The wind kept blowing in fresh snow so each run was as good as the last. It was a bit scratchy on the first head wall on the cross cut from Tight Line (The old man fell on the head wall 3 out of the 4 times we did the trail but it was worth it!) Peachy's Peril skiers left was stellar, and the Nightmare glade (Upper and Lower) did not disappoint.

Saddleback re-opened its Casablanca glade. They had to clear a lot of blow downs and dangerous obstacles from a storm earlier in the season and one has to ski with caution, but we found the #1 and #2 sections to be deep, fluffy and very fun to ski.

It was cold! However, we geared up and covered all our skin, and took frequent breaks and had a most enjoyable day. The wind blew strong at the top but once you got into the trials the wind was calmer.

With even more snow today (February 2nd) and perhaps more later in the week... we are on quite a run skiing in Maine!

Here is a video of our ski day. It was super-cold so the batteries didn't last long in the GoPro and Phone camera's but we got some good shots in.

Video trail lineup:

0:16 - Golden Smelt
0:30 - Wardens Worry (Face Shot)
1:00 - Peachy's Peril
1:20 - Peachy's Peril (Old Man Cam)
1:30 - Unnamed Secret Glade (First Tracks)
1:55 - More Peachy's
2:00 - Casablanca #1
2:36 - Tri Color (Isaac Big Air)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Blizzard 2015 Mid-Week Fun at Saddleback

While Saddleback did not get slammed with snow like the coast did during the January 2015 blizzard, they did pick up a solid foot which freshened things up considerably to say the least.

Wardens Worry was Great!
The Freeport school system called off classes for a second day on Wednesday and that meant the @MaineSkiFamily boys and mom had a bonus ski day. Too many things going on at work for the old man. They report that while some of the entrances to trails were blown off due to the high winds during the storm, the snow was deep and fluffy once down the trail a bit. Some of the @MaineSkiFamily favorites like Wardens Worry and Governor skied exceptionally well and all the glades were spot on. Overall a great 'school' day on the slopes!

More snow on the way Friday looks like! Get out there and ski in Maine!

Here is the video of the day.